PureDWTS Court Rants: Why Hayley Didn’t Get A Pro Spot on Season 27

Ok, so when the pro lineup was announced earlier this week on GMA, I saw a lot of folks thrilled for Brandon – and even more that were sad about Hayley not getting promoted to pro. I was honestly kind of shocked that so many people were incredulous about her not getting a pro spot – to me, it was pretty easy to see why…they just ran out of spots.  But in light of me getting some genuinely curious questions from fans who wondered why Hayley was passed over for a pro role, here’s my honest opinion.

But first, let’s get this main point straight: there is not an unlimited number of pro slots.


Fall season traditionally has had (13) couples (we won’t talk about the chaos of season 9).  It’s a nice number, and usually fits pretty nicely with the (usual) 10 week schedule.  Since (13) is an odd number, we’re either going to end up with (6) female pros and (7) male ones, or vice versa. Which we get more of is solely dependent upon who gets cast – if they happen to get (7) female celebs to sign on, then it’s your lucky day, boys – one more male pro slot just opened up.  Sorry, ladies – we only need (6) of you this season. Just the way the cookie crumbles, I’m afraid.  Due to the budget and schedule, it’s simply not feasible to “add” another couple, particularly if it’s only so one of the pros can have a shot.  NONE of the pros are that important.

But why couldn’t they have sat one of the other female pros out, so Hayley could get a turn?

Ok, let’s take a look at who we’re working with here: of the 6 female pros this season, 5 are MBT holders.  Right off the bat, I don’t think any MBT-holder is going to get benched in favor of a pro that isn’t battle-tested. One of them is a 2-time MBT winner, and the sole OG pro from the formative years of the show – and Cheryl is still really popular, so as far as I’m concerned, she probably has an open spot waiting for her whenever she wants. Jenna is the current MBT-holder, and just came off a strong season with Adam and an impressive first choreographic outing on SYTYCD – regardless of how you feel about Jenna as a person, the girl’s got choreo chops, and that’s what this show needs right now…so I don’t see the sense in cutting her in favor of Hayley. Lindsay is another choreo heavyweight and a recent MBT winner – plus she seems to get along fantastically with all of her partners, so it’s beneficial to keep her on as well.  Witney’s MBT win wasn’t as recent, but she is a choreographer that has started blossoming these past few seasons…so it makes sense to keep her as well. That leaves us with Emma & Sharna.  Emma’s a fairly recent MBT-winner as well, and is extremely good at turning partners that are not much to sneeze at on paper into competent contestants – plus she’s married to another pro, which TPTB need now that their token married couple has flown the coop. Sharna’s MBT-less, but has more than proven herself as a skilled choreographer – and she’s popular. I’m not sure who we’re supposed to be cutting here…

But it’s not fair that Hayley’s been in the troupe for 7 seasons, and Brandon’s only been in it for 3 seasons and he got a pro spot first!

First, you need to let go of the notion that this show somehow has to be “fair”. It seldom is, particularly to the female pros; and then there’s the small matter of Val basically being handed ringer after ringer, season after season. But I digress. Secondly, you’re comparing apples & oranges – Hayley is a contemporary dancer that only started dancing ballroom within the last 3-4 years; Brandon is a ballroom dancer that is cross-trained in contemporary and other styles, and has been doing it for quite a bit longer than Hayley.  On paper, Brandon is a much safer bet – especially when you look at some of the other contemporary-dancers-who-got-a-crash-course-in-ballroom pros we’ve had: Tyne (who had one short, unmemorable season and we never saw her again) and Allison (great at contemporary, but not-so-great at ballroom/Latin, and was cut after 4 seasons).  Right now, the ballroom dancers cross-trained in other styles have a lot easier row to hoe on DWTS than do the contemporary dancers who have only taken up ballroom in the last few years. Brandon also won the junior pro competition on DWTS back in 2007. And once again, THEY NEEDED MORE MALE PROS THIS SEASON. It’s not as if Hayley would have gotten a spot if Brandon didn’t – she can’t partner a female celeb. Also, tenure in the troupe isn’t everything – we’ve seen enough troupe members do a handful of seasons and then get let go, and Sasha seems to get shuffled back to the troupe every so often as well, despite being promoted to pro awhile back.

But why do the men seem to get promoted from troupe more often than the women?

I’m not sure this is really true, as the last few promotions from the troupe (prior to Brandon) that we’ve seen are Alan, Jenna, Lindsay (although she was a pro to begin with, went to the troupe, then went back to pro) and Witney – statistically, you’re more likely to get promoted to pro if you’re a female in the troupe than a male, as the female pro lineup seems to vary quite a bit more these days due to marriages/pregnancies.  But as a side note, I’ll say this: the current female pros, on the whole, are FAR more skilled as teachers and choreographers than the male pros.  Every single female pro in the lineup this season is both a stellar choreographer and a stellar teacher – I can’t say the same for the men.  I honestly feel like the male pros as a whole need all the help they can get – with the departure of Mark & Derek, there is little hope in terms of strong male choreographers.  Sasha & Artem seem to really try, and seem to do pretty well about 60% of the time; I think Alan is still pretty green and trying to figure out his choreographic identity; Gleb & Keo, bless them, are not great choreographers. You know how I feel about Val’s choreography – it’d be pretty good, if he would just stop with all the props/time-wasting/troupe-overutilization.  We need a dynamite male choreographer – and I think it could be Brandon. I heard tremendous praise for his choreography skills during Juniors, and since he’s coming from the same school/era that gave us Lindsay, Witney, & Jenna, I think he’s got some serious chops. I tend to think of it more as a compliment to the women that they seem to be keeping the ladies the same while shaking up the male pro lineup more and more these days – the women are killing it, so why mess with something that works? The men need work – so they keep tweaking the lineup.

But…but…will Hayley ever got a shot at being a pro???

I’m sure she’ll get her shot, probably within the next year or so.  I think it helped that Sharna sat out Juniors, as that created a mentor vacancy for Hayley to fill and somewhat prove herself.  I think Peta’s out for the foreseeable future (if not permanently), as she’s expressed a desire for more kids; additionally, Sasha & Emma have said they want to start trying for kids next year, so depending on their success in that arena (hehe), we could see a female pro slot opening up in the spring (if there’s a spring season) or fall (more likely). There’s also the fact that both Lindsay & Witney have been married a few years now – what’s to say they might not start thinking about kids soon? Or even Jenna? And then there’s Sharna, who seems to be blossoming professionally – she may find herself occupied with other gigs before long, and might decide that she’s outgrown DWTS. There’s not a single pro that has been on every single season of DWTS – the pro lineup isn’t static, and if you’re patient, long-running troupe members do eventually get promoted. Relax – I’m sure Hayley will get her moment, when a slot opens up.

Just start praying for a DWTS baby boom, I guess 😉